Sasikala’s dramatic flip, whether or not a wise political transfer by ‘Chinnamma’

Vibha Sharma
Today News Online Service

New Delhi, March 4

From reasons like health issues to a “BJP hand”, several possibilities are being attributed to the dramatic turn by ‘Chinnamma’ VK Sasikala ahead of the crucial assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

Whether the decision will be advantageous to late J. Jayalalithaa’s party, the ruling AIADMK, and harms the prospects of chief rival DMK remains to be seen but the general belief is that Sasikala played a long shot, the impact of which will depend upon results of the April 6 elections.

With Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam publicly against the idea, sources say Sasikala did not have much chance to return to the mother outfit ahead of the elections.

Plus, given that she has been convicted in a case she cannot contest elections. Therefore, even if she had re-joined the AIADMK she would have just been a backroom player.

But by stepping aside she has given herself a whole lot of elbow room and possibilities, the sources say.

“If the AIADMK wins, she can take some credit for keeping the family united. But if it losses she can step in at the ‘popular demand’ to take control of the party which is bound to fall apart if the DMK-led coalition wins these elections. She will also not be blamed for the loss,” explains a leader from BJP (the coalition partner of AIADMK in these elections) while dismissing speculations about the hand of the saffron party in any of this. 

“It may be a temporary pause, a brief break from politics,” he said, reminding of a similar decision by Jayalalithaa in her political career.

Reading between the lines of her statement, some observers also say that Sasikala just said she is “staying away from politics”, not retiring.  

“I will stay away from politics and pray for the golden rule of late J Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu. I urge all true supporters of Jayalalitha to prevent the common enemy DMK from coming to power in the Assembly elections and ensure Amma’s golden rule in Tamil Nadu,” Sasikala said in her letter.  

While the move is expected to earn her goodwill, by taking a moral high ground she may also be able to rid herself of some of the negative sentiments around her. Whether it is her decision or has been prompted, the message is she has chosen “the party over her nephew”.  

Sasikala’s nephew and AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran said he tried to persuade her from taking back the decision, but she remained firm.

Her action has certainly put pressure on the current AIADMK leadership to deliver in the upcoming elections, he said.

She is no longer an issue which the DMK can use against the AIADMK, there is no fear of rebellion or mass defections in the party, the power tussle is settled and the Palaniswamy-led outfit can now enter the poll fray with the BJP with confidence. 

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